Matching social media ads to personalities can prevent people avoiding them

New Ideas in MarketingEssential news for marketers, summarised by YouGov
April 23, 2019, 9:53 PM UTC

Framing messages for “big five” traits like extraversion should be possible for social media marketers.

Social media content can have a strong influence on purchasing behaviour and platforms hold a wealth of data that allows advertisers to target and personalise messages. But, possibly because of the volume of adverts being shown, consumers are increasingly using “ad avoidance” strategies to limit what they interact with. This avoidance can be cognitive, where negative opinions about ads lead people to consciously stay away from them; affective, when emotional reactions cause people to avoid looking at ads; or behavioural, where users scroll or click away from pages that contain them.

This research assessed participants’ personality traits using the “big five” framework, showed them a series of fictitious Facebook News Feed adverts for a new product, and then followed up with a questionnaire to investigate their responses. The results showed that for four out of the five traits (extraversion, openness, agreeableness and neuroticism), ads that matched the viewer’s personality saw less avoidance. Conscientiousness was the only exception.

The personality matching ads seemed to get a better reception because the participants saw them as more relevant and less intrusive. Across the board, perceived relevance led to less avoidance whereas intrusiveness increased it. So the authors suggest that advertisers could improve the cut-through of their messages by targeting different variations to different personality types, and that this should be achievable based on existing models and data held on platforms.

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